Thermal Paste, Should it be Cleaned & Replaced?

olletsocmit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
296
2
USA
I have a mid 2010 Macbook Pro, see specs below in my signature. I have had it apart a few times... to clean, upgrade the ram, and to replace the HDD with an SSD drive. I was thinking about when i used to have desktops and remembered that the thermal paste always got bad after a few years. Does anyone clean and replace their thermal paste in their macbook pro's?

Is this something worth doing or just a waste? I have not looked, but i am sure its all hard and gunked up. if i should of done this already, please post tutorial if you have one.
 

Queen6

macrumors G3
Simple "is it running hot?" I have Mac portables spaning close to a decade and have never needed to repaste the CPU/GPU. Would they run cooler probably, does it significantly effect the usage no. Dont fix what isn't broken may well apply.

For me the only reason to reapply TIM is if the system is throttling under load, outside of that it`s tinkering for the sake of.

Q-6
 

soupcan

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2014
725
2,926
Netherlands
When I opened up my 2011 MacBook Air for an SSD upgrade to 256GB back in 2013 I took out the cooling assembly too for a tough clean up. The thermal paste... well... lets just say it wasn't paste anymore. More like solid chunks of what was once thermal goo. It was scattered all over the processor, so I took a wipe to it with some cloth and cleaning alcohol and put some fresh goo on it. It definitely helped, along with the now cleaned up cooling fins. Like a 20 degree Celsius drop in idle temps.

So yes, I suggest you do open it up once a while to get rid of the dust with an air duster or air compressor, and to replace the thermal goo once every 2-3 years. As for the tutorial: look it up on iFixit. They tear down almost everything just to get to the guts, but they also do replacement guides for specific parts, like HDDs or indeed cooling solutions.
 

sentential

macrumors regular
May 27, 2015
153
59
Re-doing the thermal paste is a waste of time. Coming from an overclocker, it's difficult to get the paste "right" i.e. not too much not too little. The idea is you want a seal around the chip and the cooling source as to not let air in-between the surfaces almost like insulation on an AC.

On a desktop PC its easy to re-do the paste if you get it wrong, it is not so easy when you do it on a laptop. Personally laptops would be better using a thermal pad than paste. That way if your PC were to get banged up or dropped you won't risk chipping the very fragile glass/silicon core beneath the heatsink.

Also paste is only good for 3-5 years before it needs to be re-applied as it dries out. Pads work indefinitely
 

srshaw

macrumors 6502
Aug 13, 2011
410
66
For me If I tried to do this I would probably break something. I'm a firm believer of leaving things be if they're not broken.
 

olletsocmit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
296
2
USA
Simple "is it running hot?" I have Mac portables spaning close to a decade and have never needed to repaste the CPU/GPU. Would they run cooler probably, does it significantly effect the usage no. Don't fix what isn't broken may well apply.

For me the only reason to reapply TIM is if the system is throttling under load, outside of that it`s tinkering for the sake of.

Q-6
Yes, it seems to be running kind of got. I use the app called smcFanControl to speed up my fans. Currently I am just watching a tv show on my computer using quicktime player. and posing this. My current temp is 68 Celsius. This seems hot to me.... The normal fan speed it set at 2,000 rpm; I have the fans running at 3,000 rpm all the time. so seems to be a little to hot since the ran is booted higher up? seem too hot, what do you guys think?
 

olletsocmit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
296
2
USA
If i do, do it... should i just do it myself (I am good with computers), or act dumb and take it to the apple store and say its running hot and i think the paste should be replaced. That way its done by them, and free hopefully
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,217
1,606
Apple won't do it and they would check anyway so it's pointless.

Should you replace it? Absolutely. If your confident that you can do the job then go for it. Just pick a decent brand of paste. I personally always replace the stock paste and the results are always 10-20'c better than stock.
 

olletsocmit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
296
2
USA
Apple won't do it and they would check anyway so it's pointless.

Should you replace it? Absolutely. If your confident that you can do the job then go for it. Just pick a decent brand of paste. I personally always replace the stock paste and the results are always 10-20'c better than stock.
Yea i want to look for stock paste. should i order it from somewhere like iFixit or something?
 

olletsocmit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
296
2
USA
ok i placed the order for the thermal paste and the cleaner. I am gonna do some benchmarks and temp readings with mac in idol, streaming, etc. before and after the paste replacement. I will post all the info and pics this weekend. maybe a little tutorial as well
 
Last edited:

ilikewhey

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2014
1,555
1,683
nyc upper east
no! don't use artic silver it's conductive, thats the last paste you want to use when the interior of mbp is so clustered. try prolimatech paste or mx-4. i use rice sized method and now my fans barely kicks up when idle.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,217
1,606
no! don't use artic silver it's conductive, thats the last paste you want to use when the interior of mbp is so clustered. try prolimatech paste or mx-4. i use rice sized method and now my fans barely kicks up when idle.
Applied correctly as5 poses no threat to the system than any other thermal paste!
 

ilikewhey

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2014
1,555
1,683
nyc upper east
Applied correctly as5 poses no threat to the system than any other thermal paste!
it's pretty hard to apply correctly, i had to do it twice just to get it right. first time i didn't put enough and the temp gap between cpu and heatsink a was quite large. 2nd time i put more than i have to and it probably have some paste oozing from contact surface. good thing the paste i used isn't conductive.
 

vladzaharia

macrumors regular
Jul 5, 2010
213
29
it's pretty hard to apply correctly, i had to do it twice just to get it right. first time i didn't put enough and the temp gap between cpu and heatsink a was quite large. 2nd time i put more than i have to and it probably have some paste oozing from contact surface. good thing the paste i used isn't conductive.
Um, no, it's actually pretty easy to apply correctly. There's videos of it being done all over the internet.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,217
1,606
It's not pretty easy it's beyond simple. Hell I could train a monkey to do it.
 

ilikewhey

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2014
1,555
1,683
nyc upper east
ok, you guys find it easy, maybe i would too if i'm bothered to do it again, but why take the risk. as5 is good but there are crap ton of other paste out there in today's market that both doesn't have the curing time nor is it conductive. and performs better.
 

vladzaharia

macrumors regular
Jul 5, 2010
213
29
ok, you guys find it easy, maybe i would too if i'm bothered to do it again, but why take the risk. as5 is good but there are crap ton of other paste out there in today's market that both doesn't have the curing time nor is it conductive. and performs better.
Arctic Silver 5 is not electrically conductive, and all good thermal compounds should have a cure time, as it needs to change viscosity after it's been applied to properly coat all the surfaces. It's not a "cure time" persay, but a burn-in time. You don't have to do anything special during this time, it just may not be at 100% efficiency.

AS5 is one of the best thermal compounds on the market, period.
 

ilikewhey

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2014
1,555
1,683
nyc upper east
Arctic Silver 5 is not electrically conductive, and all good thermal compounds should have a cure time, as it needs to change viscosity after it's been applied to properly coat all the surfaces. It's not a "cure time" persay, but a burn-in time. You don't have to do anything special during this time, it just may not be at 100% efficiency.

AS5 is one of the best thermal compounds on the market, period.
uh no.

pk-1 is considered the best paste, indigo xtreme the best compound, i switched from ac5 to IC Diamond and saw 2-3c drop on my overclocked pc. then you have mx-2 mx-4 all have alot shorter curing/burn in time. and then you have the new paste on the block like CLU, which alot of ppl are delidding their cpu and swapping whatever intel put in with that. all of these i mentioned are better than as5, don't get me wrong, i used to use as5 exclusively, only reason why i stopped cause i lost my tube, picked up pk-1 and ic diamond and never went back.
 
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